Written by Bridget Cushen on 31 Aug 2016
We set a good example to our children/grandchildren, we inspire those who would like “to have a go” at competitive sport but feel that they may be too old. Now we are the active competitive parents of Olympians.
Watching the drama unfold on the track and on the field in Rio, you may well have spotted several Masters athletes. The oldest was the Spanish 50km walker Jesus Angel Garcia aged 46, one of 11 Masters in the 48-strong Spanish team. He finished a very credible 20th in 3.54.29sec. The mother of Nafissatou Thiam the Heptathlon gold medalist, is Daniéle Denisty the current European Masters Athletics W45 Heptathlon gold medalist in Izmir where she scored a total of 5043pts to beat Ireland’s Geraldine Finnigan. She is now in the W50 age category.
Another Mother/Daughter team and making her fourth appearance for the Cz Republic at the Olympics was 35-year old Barbora Špotakova. She won the javelin in Beijing and London and took the bronze medal in Rio with a throw of 64.80m. She was the only CZE athletic medalist in Rio. She was at the European Masters Athletics Championships in Zittau in 2012 to watch her mother Ludmila win the W60 javelin title.
The men’s hammer was won with a sub 80m throw, lower than the current WMA M40 World Record. The silver medallist is Ivan Tsikhan from Belarus, an M40.
In the women’s high jump four cleared 1.97m, two are 37-year olds, Ruth Beitia who won with no failures, and Chaunte Lowe, USA who finished 4th.
One of the best performance by a Masters athlete (note TV Commentators referred to them as “older athletes”) came in the 4 x 400m when Chris Brown, who will be 38 in October, took over on the last leg for the Bahamas bringing them home third in their fastest time this year 2.58.49sec. His split time must have been in the 44-sec mark. He is now the first man in history to win four Olympic medals in the 4 x 400m, taking his total to two bronze, one silver and gold at the 2012 London Olympics.